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Kafka Details


Steve Soderbergh did a 180 degree turnaround from his debut film sex, lies, and videotape with Kafka, a stark art-film fable for literature majors. Jeremy Irons plays a fictional Franz Kafka, living in Prague in 1919. By day, Kafka works in a massive, impersonal insurance company. At night, he spends his time alone writing stories about men who turn into giant cockroaches. Although quiet and solitary, he becomes a suspect in a murder investigation conducted by Inspector Grubach (Armin Mueller-Stahl) when a friend of his turns up dead. Rather than being harassed by Grubach, Kafka decides to investigate his friend's murder on his own. Kafka speaks to his dead friend's girlfriend, Gabriela (Theresa Russell) and talks with gravestone carver Bizzlebek (Jeroen Krabbe). Kafka follows the clues to the Castle, a menacing tower that casts its shadow over the city and houses files on everything. He winds his way through the cellars and tunnels of the Castle, where he encounters the evil and insidious Dr. Murnau (Ian Holm), whom he hopes holds the solution to the murder. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

  • Release date:November 15, 1991


Awarded by
Independent Spirit Awards Lem Dobbs Best Screenplay 1991 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards Walt Lloyd Best Cinematography 1991 Winner


Jeremy Irons
as Kafka
Theresa Russell
as Gabriela
Joel Grey
as Burgel
Ian Holm
as Dr. Murnau
Jeroen Krabbé
as Bizzlebek
Alec Guinness
as The Chief Clerk
Armin Mueller-Stahl
as Inspector Grubach
Keith Allen
as Assistant Ludwig
Simon McBurney
as Assistant Oscar
Robert Flemyng
as The Keeper of the Flies
Vitezsalv Bouchner
as Lens Cleaner
Matyelok Gibbs
as Concierge
Toon Agterberg
as Youthful Anarchist
Emil Wolk
as Man Under Microscope
Jerome Flynn
as Castle Attendant
David Shaw Parker
as Interrogating Attendant
Brian Glover
as Castle Henchman
Petr Lepsa
as Friend of Kafka
Frantisek Stufka
as Vagrant
Jan Slovak
as Man at Bar
Jan Nemejovsky
as Mustachioed Anarchist
Petr Jákl
as Quarry Laborer
Josef Sebek
as Inspector's Assistant
Hilde Van Mieghem
as Female Anarchist
Debora Weston
as Friend of Kafka
Ondrej Havelka
as Friend of Kafka
David Jensen
as The Laughing Man
Vladimir Gut
as Edward
Robert Krejcik
as Evil Wagon Driver
Pavel Myslik
as Vagrant
James McPhee
as Castle Attendant
Guy Fithen
as Friend of Kafka
Karel Belohradsky
as Inspector's Assistant
Ion Caramitru
as Solemn Anarchist
Lubos Rychvalsky
as Kidnapped Vagrant
Josef Abrhám
as Friend of Kafka
Ewan Stewart
as Castle Attendant


Steven Soderbergh
Harry Benn
Lem Dobbs
Walt Lloyd
Cliff Martinez
Composer (Music Score)
Steven Soderbergh
Gavin Bocquet
Production Designer
Philip Elton
Production Designer
Tony Woollard
Production Designer
Jiri Matolin
Art Director
Les Tomkins
Art Director
Paul Rassam
Executive Producer
Joanne Woollard
Set Designer
Michael Jeffery
Costume Designer
Ian Wingrove
Special Effects
Guy Travers
First Assistant Director